Turkey demonstrated the strength of their grass-root programme as they prevailed in the opening day of the 2020 EKF Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships being held in Budapest, Hungary.
Powerhouses of the sport took the lead after succeeding in Kata categories. Sonia Inzoli of Italy and Furkan Kaynar of Turkey claimed the titles in Cadet Kata while Enes Ozdemir of Turkey regained the continental crown in Male Junior Kata for the second consecutive year. Matilde Galassi took the second gold for Italy with her victory in Female Junior Kata. Franck Ngoan of France dominated U21 Male Kata while Marta Garcia Lozano took back-to-back World and continental titles with her outstanding performance in U21 Female Kata.
Moving to Kumite divisions, Muhammed Oezdemir opened the gold medal count for Germany with an impressive 10-2 victory in Cadet Male -52kg as Farid Savadov of Azerbaijan edged World champion Dominik Dziuda of Poland in Cadet Male -57kg (1-0). Luan Veras of England claimed a hard-fought title in Male Kumite -63kg (6-2) as Eduard Gasparian of Russia won the final of Cadet Male Kumite -70kg by “Hantei” or decision. The last category of Male Kumite was taken by Leonard Moise of Romania (1-0).
Turkish representatives continued their excellent performance in Kumite, with Muserref Ozdemir becoming European champion in Cadet Female -47kg (6-1). Kori Fital of Scotland clearly dominated the final of Cadet Female -54kg while Volha Ramaniuk took the flag of Belarus to the top of the podium in Cadet Female Kumite +54kg (4-0).
The day concluded with the opening ceremony. The parade of flags of all the 52 countries participating at the event marked the official start of the anticipated tournament. The ceremony was attended by Hungarian Secretary of State for Sports Tunde Szabo, former President of Hungary and member of the International Olympic Committee Pal Schmitt, Hungarian Karate Federation President János Mészáros and EKF and WKF President Antonio Espinós.